"No Strings"-- Funding the Alumni Treasury
All members of the Executive Committee recently received a copy of the following letter, addressed to the Secretary-Treasurer of your Association.
Timothy A. Dreisbach
119 Morgan Road, South Royalton VT 05068
24 July 2007
Mr. David Spalding
Secretary-Treasurer, Dartmouth Association of Alumni
c/o Blunt Hall, Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
People have expressed concerns about third parties spending money to influence alumni without public disclosure of their activity. There should be similar concerns about the College using the power of the purse to control how the alumni’s elected representatives communicate with their members and represent those interests. Having the Association cover and openly report on its expenses, with financial support coming both from the College and from other individuals or groups, appears a proper balance between these two alternatives.
It is understandable that the College only spends its money as it wishes; that is its right. What upsets me is the Alumni Relations office not giving access to mail lists that would cost nothing additional, including email lists that were provided for use by the prior Executive Committee but are now denied. It is disconcerting to find that even changes to content on our Association web site, which you (wearing your other hat as Dartmouth VP Alumni Relations) once described to me as “maintained by the College as a convenience for the alumni” are also subject to review and veto by College staff.
Enclosed is a personal check in the amount of $xxx that I am donating to our Association. As you know, our alumni constitution requires that we members of the Executive Committee be responsible for “the general interests of the Association [being the alumni], including the raising and expending of money to meet current expenses”. I wish that this sum be deposited in a general account of the treasury, and used to cover Association expenses as determined by the Executive Committee. As we recently decided to communicate by a letter to our members, and the College refused to support that effort, I expect my donation will be applied to help cover the expenses of that mailing.
Further this donation will hopefully serve as an example for other alumni to donate as well. As you know, the Association has opened PO Box 525 in Hanover (03755) to receive feedback from that letter and correspondence in general; if checks made out to the Association are received there, they will be forwarded to you for deposit in our treasury. No longer shall the treasurer’s report be “there is nothing to report because we have no expenses and have no funds.”
As a committee member, I do not believe we should be declaring “financial independence” from the College, as their support to cover Association activities such as trustee and officer elections is necessary and of mutual benefit. But as we have seen, the College is unwilling to fund other efforts deemed by the Association leadership to have high priority. Accordingly, I suggest you consider partitioning our accounts, and the expenses being reported, into two categories… those of a “restricted nature” as contributed by the College, and those freely given for general use.
This donation may not be tax deductible, as we are today not incorporated as a tax-exempt organization. I would appreciate if you could advise as to the requirements of establishing such status. In the interim, I suppose others wishing to donate can do so without such regard as I have done, or will consider making donations to other exempt organizations with a stipulation that those in turn help reimburse our expenses; I believe we can accept such monies in good faith, so long as there are no “strings attached” that would in any way compromise the interests of our members. This should be true without regard as to whether it is the College or other parties who provide the funds.
Sincerely, for Dartmouth alumni and hence for Dartmouth,
Tim Dreisbach ‘71
Executive Committee Member
Enc: Personal Check